Spelman facing large legal bill over injunction case

CAROLINE Spelman faces a huge legal bill after a judge refused a request by the Defra Secretary and her husband, Mark, to continue an injunction protecting the privacy of their son.

The Spelmans had already spent £60,994.50 on the case against the Daily Star Sunday. They were ordered to pay the newspaper’s costs after failing in their attempt to continue the injunction in a hearing on Friday.

However, the Spelmans, who were been out of the country last week, have been granted another week to challenge the judgment at the Court of Appeal. If they choose not to appeal or lose the appeal the Daily Star Sunday will be free to run the story.

A temporary injunction was initially granted by Mr Justice Lindblom to prevent Daily Star Sunday running the story.

Mark Spelman had claimed the newspaper’s motives were ‘nakedly political’ and that the publication of the article amounted to an ‘attack’ on Mrs Spelman.

But Express Newspapers, which publishes the Daily Star Sunday insisted the case was in the public interest and that Jonathan Spelman was a ‘role model’ for aspiring rugby players even though he was 17.

On Friday Mr Justice Tugendhat ruled in favour of the newspaper, declaring that the privacy injunction was ‘not necessary or proportionate’. The judge said there was ‘no dispute’ about the key fact in the story, or that supplementary evidence ‘is what it purports to be’.

He said: “The diminution of the reasonable expectation of privacy in the world of participants in public sports and performing arts cannot be confined only to those who achieve the highest levels.”

The case has raised further debate about the use of injunctions by famous people to protect their privacy in the media.

Daily Star Sunday editor Gareth Morgan said: “This is a great decision for press freedom. It is about whether those with power and money should have more privacy than the average man in the street.”

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